Facebook’s Cryptocurrency – Is Silicon Valley about to redefine banking?

Facebook recently announced a new digital currency called “Libra”. The company is partnering with 27 other businesses and organisations to start the crypto as an open-source digital currency. Facebook says that it aims to make it as easy to send money around the world as it is to send a selfie or a WhatsApp message. Libra represents a huge step forward for the entire digital currency space, but is it actually like a Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple or a traditional fiat currency like USD, Euro and GBP? And what does it mean for the banking industry? Let’s explore!

Understanding the FinTech revolution

It is not enough to just import technologies like Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain or smartphones into existing financial services. To stay in business, banks need to rethink the role their business plays in their customers’ lives. It is with this intent that the Financial Services industry and FinTech startups are innovating across broad categories – in investment management, payments, insurance, credit, and even money itself. So what’s driving this change? And what makes it possible? This video recording of a talk by Gregory La Blanc (Lecturer – Berkeley Haas) offers a brief tour of how and why the financial markets and institutions are rapidly changing.

The AI hardware and software at the heart of a self-driving car

Around the middle of last month, Elon Musk dramatically twitted that: “On April 22, Investor Autonomy Day, Tesla will free investors from the tyranny of having to drive their own car”. Tesla live-streamed that event and made a video recording available on YouTube. Having just finished watching this video, I am blown away by the progress that Tesla has made in making that dream of a fully autonomous self-driving car a reality (not in the distant future, but in 2020!!). There is an incredible amount of AI hardware and software innovation that has gone in to make this possible, including using targeted video snippets collated from existing Tesla cars driving around the world for improving the predictions of the neural network that powers the self-driving software, to building a computer that does just one thing (and only one thing) very well – i.e. self-driving. So if you are interested in self-driving cars or AI in general, I will highly recommend watching this video.

The next generation of robots and humanoids!

We’ve long seen robots in industry, handling repetitive tasks and heavy machinery. They were once confined to safety cages in manufacturing facilities, programmed to perform one task perfectly, over and over again. Their purpose was to make high volumes of goods more quickly and cheaply.

But rapid technological advancements are giving rise to a new generation of smarter, flexible, more mobile and more human-like robots. Some can perform diverse tasks in unstructured environments and work with and alongside people. Some can fly, others can navigate terrestrial routes.

There is no doubt that the new generation of robots and humanoids are getting better and better at mimicking human behaviour. But one must not be deceived into thinking that they have human intelligence. Nevertheless, in this article, I present a collection of YouTube video clips that serve as a reminder of just how far we have come in developing robotic technology.

DeepMind: Inside Google’s super-brain

DeepMind has attracted mixed headlines since Google paid £400 million for the AI startup in January 2014. DeepMind amazed the world when its AI programme AlphaGo beat world champion Lee Sedol at Go, an ancient and complex game of strategy and intuition which many believed could never be cracked by a machine. Since then, DeepMind has also been caught up in a controversy over its patient data-sharing arrangement with a London NHS Trust, which the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) deemed to be a breach the Data Protection Act.

But what exactly does DeepMind do? In a fascinating documentary titled “Google’s DeepMind Explained”, ColdFusion TV explains everything that you need to know about DeepMind in just 14 minutes. If you have an interest in AI, I will highly recommend watching this video.

Machine Learning can create fake fingerprints – should we be worried?

Fingerprint scanner is a popular security barrier which can be found in all sorts of high-end mobile devices that are currently on the market. It is fast and easy to use as an alternative to those hard-to-remember passwords, unlock mobile devices and apps, and even authorise card payments by simply tapping the screen of a device with your finger.

But is it secure? Apparently not as much as we would like to believe!